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  A definition of the Perennial Philosophy Back to the List of Slideshows
The term philosophia is much more problematic for perennialists. The most important early twentieth-century voice of the Perennial Philosophy or Tradition, René Guénon, noted that the use of the term philosophia should cause "serious reservations" when applying it too generously, because
…this word too easily gives rise to ambiguities, especially as the moderns habitually use it. One could of course resolve them by making it clear that the Philosophia Perennis is by no means ‘a’ philosophy, that is to say one particular conception more or less limited and systematic and having this or that individual as its author, but is rather the common foundation from which proceeds whatever is truly valid in all philosophies.
The word "philosophy" as it is commonly used and understood today refers to a humanly contrived system of ideas. It is not the quest to articulate a timeless, universal, and absolute Divine Truth, as mentioned by Stoddart in Slide 2. It is unfortunate that today most people equate "philosophy" with a specifically non-spiritual, academic, dry, and overly complex system of thought.

This is not the "philosophy" of Guénon, Coomaraswamy, Schuon, or for that matter Plato or many other ancient philosophers. For them, its literal meaning of "love of wisdom"—implying a way of life and a deep motivation towards seeking the highest Truth—is closer to their own philosophia. This philosophy does not seek to manufacture or create a system of thought. It seeks to uncover, to articulate eternal and universal truths. No-one but God is the 'author' of the Perennial Philosophy. Human agents merely detect its unchanging laws, describe them as adequately as possible in human language, and apply this knowledge to a host of domains of human concern.

From all the above, it can be seen why perennialists and traditionalists have to clear the word "philosophy" of its current connotations before the sense in which they use it can be fully understood.
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